The game against Melbourne on weekend was a great one, a mediocre one and also a bad one.
Each week I go over the newspapers and see who is tipping who for Carlton matches. What was interesting this time was that more are tipping Carlton to win than in previous months. Sure, we lost, but the point is that media and other teams are now starting to take what was once a bottom feeder team with no structure or depth, more seriously.
With two rotations down, one being Crippa, who was sorely missed after he went off with a season ending injury, we could have, as we have done in the past, capitulated and given up. We didn’t. Through a few and I mean a few silly decisions made by the umpires, one being the mark by Jack Silvagni, we nearly had them. Melbourne at the end of the game jumped for joy at winning, but they should not be excited about just beating a side that is still re-building.
There were at times very mediocre moments in the game for Carlton and I’m not going to name specific players in this respect because it proves nothing. What this mediocrity did show is that Carlton are slowly and surely proving to be a club that is so decidedly on the rise. It is taking time that some supporters are not willing to understand, but most are.
The only way to make a team that not only plays together and for each other is to slowly mould them into being a team that will dig deep when needed. This was shown during this match and although we just didn’t get there in the end, we are on the way, much more so than other teams and also more than what media commentators spouted at the beginning of the year.
For the fifth time this season, we have another Rising Star nomination, who should have been nominated last week, but, we’ll let that one slide. Charlie Curnow has been likened to Carlton great Anthony Koutoufides not only by Carlton people, but by the general media and footy commentators. His big-bodied agility sees him move around the ground with such power and grunt that he will as he gains more and more senior game experience, become someone to fear on the ground and hard to tag. As a big man, down in the forward line, he has the ability to slot the ball in where it counts and to become a target for the midfielders to aim for.
For those supporters who doubt what SOS and Bolts are achieving here, read a tweet posted by Harry McKay who has yet to make his senior debut, that four out the five draft picks from 2015 have been nominated as Rising Stars. I can only imagine that McKay is itching to get on the senior list and run out with the boys, and maybe he will be given the injuries from the Melbourne match.
Carlton have nothing to prove to the outside world, only to themselves, not anymore. They showed on Sunday that even with players injured they have the ability to win, because right now we are seeing the fruits of what a really, damn, successful rebuilding will and can achieve. We are seeing the immense possibilities of what the future will be at Carlton and with a few more tweaks, season 2018 will be a breakout season for the club, more so than this year.
The year hasn’t finished yet and the possibilities haven’t ended yet. Carlton showed a courage and will for not giving up that hasn’t been seen in previous seasons. Season 2017 may not be the year that Carlton make that power push to the top 8, but they are showing that with slow and steady steps, with growth, with empowering the young players with the older ones, Carlton are the team that now everyone does not take for granted. That they are the team to watch.